Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 16, 1943
Friday, July 16, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 16, 1943 Diary Page
If it weren’t for this diary I would never in my life be able to keep up with the days over here. They go by like streaks of greased lightening for which I am very thankful. The last few nights certainly have been gorgeous. There is something about a full moon that nothing else can duplicate. Then is the time when I get a little touch of homesickness and do a lot of thinking about Virginia. Sometimes that girl gets me down then others I let my common sense side control and tell her to go to hell. It’s pretty rough being 5 or 6 thousand miles away from the girl you are in love with when you know she’s slipping away from you with each coming day and you can’t do a damn thing about it. That and the fact that I’m going to be so old when I get out of this war are about the only two things I really feel bad about. The rest of it has been worth it in a thousand ways. I’ll be right on the verge of turning thirty at least. It seems hard to realize that I have come to the halfway mark of a normal lifetime. This war should have come ten years ago instead of now, that is for me. Today has been just another day to turn out work. It is interesting and I find myself more and more each day under a truck or involved in the innermost secrets of a motor. I wonder what some major or colonel would say if he were to some to the ordering room ordering for the C.O. and hear he is out in the shop under a truck somewhere. This evening Sgt. S_, N_ and B__ as well as myself took off and shot up 500 rounds of 45 ammunition. How my ears do ring.
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The Day That Was: July 16, 1943
1943 Diary Recaps
January 1943 Recap: We first met Lt. Reichard in January, stationed at McClellan Air Base in Sacramento, where he was in charge of a motor pool unit. Expecting to be sent overseas, their orders were changed and they became restless to see action. Lt. Reichard’s sweetheart, Ginnie, would write frequently, and he would go to dinner and movies with local girls – Dorothy, in Sacramento, and Marie, when the unit moved to Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho. The men have spent their days in lectures, and physical demonstrations to try to keep sharp mentally and physically. But they are getting increasingly restless.
February 1943 Recap: The unit continues to be restless as they still haven’t any orders for overseas. The days are kept busy with lectures, physical demonstrations, and frequent hikes in the mountains above Boise. Lt. Reichard receives a promotion to Lieutenant First Class and continues to write to Ginnie back home, though her letters are becoming more infrequent. February 1943 comes to an end with the unit still feeling bored and discouraged.
March 1943 Recap: March brings uncertainties in weather and daily life to Gowen Field. Still no word about overseas orders, the outfit must now share quarters with another unit. There is now time to begin a photo album, collecting pictures from times with the outfit. Letters from Ginnie are becoming more infrequent but there is no shortage of dates with the local girls in Boise. March comes to an end with everyone in the outfit anxiously awaiting word of upcoming furloughs.
April 1943 Recap: Last minute furloughs come through, and Lt. Reichard returns home to Maryland for some time with his family on the farm. He and Ginnie have a chance to talk things over and hopefully save the relationship. Just before leaving Boise, the unit gets orders that a move will come at the end of April. April comes to an end with the men spending a week in Stockton, California getting ready to ship out. But where they are going remains a mystery.
May 1943 Recap: The long journey begins by train as the outfit travels cross country to Camp Shanks, New York, where they will prepare to head overseas. Lt. Reichard now knows the destination: Casablanca, Morocco in North Africa. After ensuring that all the supplies are in order, the outfit boards the “West Point”, the newest in troop carriers and heads to sea. Lt. Reichard spends many peaceful evenings enjoying the time at sea before landing in Morocco. May ends with the outfit setting up camp and adjusting to the customs of Morocco.
Lt. Reichard’s WWII Diary Project : On January 1, 2009, WorthPoint began a three year project following the life of a WWII soldier through the daily pages of his diary. To read about the inception of this project, or to add your own comments, click here.
Diary transcription: Shari Seippel
Diary photos: Claudia Forbes
Video production: Alison Harder
Narration: Mountain Vista H.S. Theater Department
Jeremy Goldson, Department Chair; Bryan Smith – voice of Lt. Reichard